It was a Friar drill on the turf at Hofstra yesterday, as three St. Anthony's players were on fire in leading Maryland to a thorough 16-8 victory over Bryant before a record crowd of 13,519 at Shuart Stadium in an NCAA Tournament men's lacrosse quarterfinal game.
"The Long Island kids did the job," Maryland coach John Tillman said after his team advanced to Saturday's Final Four in Baltimore with a blazing 7-2 first-quarter pyrotechnics display that featured nine of 10 faceoff wins by Charlie Raffa; two goals and three assists from Mike Chanenchuk, and two goals by Joe LoCascio.
"Mike was the quarterback; Joe took the shots, Charlie gave us possessions," Tillman said. Chanenchuk finished with five goals and four assists, a career-high nine points and the highest single-game points total for a Terrapin since 1979. LoCascio scored his first career hat trick and Raffa won 14 of 20 faceoffs against Kevin Massa (Glenn), No. 1 in the country in that department.
Raffa, ranked No. 2 in faceoff percentage, won the opening draw and after a long possession, Chanenchuk scored unassisted. A minute later, he assisted on Henry West's goal. LoCascio demonstrated his firepower from the perimeter with a low-to-high rocket that made it 4-0. LoCascio scored again later in the first quarter on a feed from Chanenchuk who then fed Connor Cannizzaro and scored himself on an unassisted blast to make it 7-1.
"Terrapin lacrosse is getting the ball off the ground," LoCascio said. A St. Anthony's rival, Michael Ehrhardt (Chaminade) helped by gobbling up five ground balls as Maryland (13-3) out-scooped Bryant (16-5) by a substantial 36-23 advantage.
Raffa's dominance provided extra possessions that prevented Bryant from mounting any sort of comeback. Colin Dunster scored four goals for the Bulldogs. Maryland will face Notre Dame on Saturday at M & T Bank Stadium.
"They were in and out of a zone, but we were going to attack the same way against either -- dodge and move the ball," said Chanenchuk, who leads Maryland with 35 goals and 22 assists. The Terps shot a commendable 16-for-38 against Bulldogs goalie Gunnar Waldt, who had stoned No. 2 Syracuse in last week's first-round upset. "We just keep shooting; we don't get scared."
Of Saturday's outbreak of Friars fever, Chanenchuk, who recalled losing CHSAA title games at Hofstra while in high school, said, "It was very cool to come back to Long Island, represent St. Anthony's and finally win one on this field."